2007-06-06

PR#6

According to Slashdot, this month the Apple ][ turns 30. It was in production for 18 of those 30 years, which likely makes it the longest-selling personal computer of all time. This is the computer I wrote my first program on, and spent countless hours banging in and editing code from Compute magazine — including page after page of raw hex code when a program included graphics.

In tribute, I ran a Google search on PR#6 to see what turned up. For those who don't know or don't remember, PR#6 was the command that kicked off the bootloader code for slot 6, the drive controller. The search turned up two relevant links: an Apple TechTip on a simple copy-protection scheme, and a fantastic blog entry that covers a bit about the Apple ]['s boot process, which brings back a lot of memories of old Shugart drives, including the terrifying sound of a track 0 seek – a process wherein the drive head was moved across the disk very quickly until it physically couldn't go any further, resulting in a loud alarm-like buzz from the drive when it hit the limit of its reach.

Anyway, in celebration of the Apple ]['s 30th birthday, I recommend grabbing your nearest emulator, and banging in a call -151 for old time's sake.

2007-05-30

Google Reader

For years, I've been a fan of Brent Simmons' OS X-based feed reader, NetNewsWire. It's a fantastic application, and I've definitely got my money's worth out of it. After partnering with NewsGator, I started using their online feed-reader on and off, with mixed results. I like that it keeps my feeds in sync between my computers, and that I can browse articles at lunch, but the interface is still not on par with NetNewsWire itself.

While NewsGator's implementation was lacking, I really did like the idea of dropping the desktop app altogether and going with a fully online solution, so I started exploring other options. The obvious free alternative is Google Reader, and I have to say, I'm impressed. While the presentation isn't as customizable as NetNewsWire, the functionality that I use is all there, and in fact, it has some extra search features that I miss on the desktop.

2007-01-26

Apple Reinvents the Phone?

After watching the Steve Jobs iPhone keynote, I have to say I'm a little disappointed. While this phone has a slicker GUI than any other phone I've seen, it's not so much the $499 US price-tag, but the stone-age functionality of the phone that makes my jaw drop.